Sunday, 29 April 2018

First rehearsal: Azerbaijan to Belgium

Belgium

My pre-opinion: I like Sennek, and happy for her that her song is getting a lot of love from the fans. I just don't *get* it though. I find the song as engaging as Blackbird, and think she has to do something stand-outy (+sing it flawlessly) to be heard again on Saturday. Good luck to her.

First run:
Starts very dark with a thin light across her face so we can only see her eyes. A bit like Trijntje. When the song kicks in she pulls the microphone from the stands and walks about a bit. This will probably look better with the audience when she gets close to them. Singing is ok, I think there's an invisible backing singer or two but I'm not sure yet. (three backing singers, a Belgian informant whispers in my ear)

Second run:
The light thing is wobbly at the start, hard to tell if it's intended or RTP's light technician has unstable hands. (just then she sings "sometimes it feels like it's meant to be broken", so leaning toward intended). Another fine rehearsal, fans of this song should be satisfied (although I'm still not engaged myself)

Third run:
About the same, with the light a bit less wobbly and Sennek a bit more confident. The stage is black with light beams, and it's refreshing to not have a red or blue stage, but I have to say I'm not a huge fan of this stage. It was a nice idea to get rid of the LEDs, as long as there's some 'character' to replace them with, but there doesn't seem to be any. Rant over.

Fourth run:
The camera is doing its best to find her face, but Sennek is doing her best to avoid it. There's one moment of happiness that it finds her, but she quickly turns away and shows her hair. It's a very long hair that covers most of her back. Echoes echoes of her:




Albania

My pre-opinion: I'm a big fan of this, but knowing full well it won't be easy to make the final in this competition. They'll have to get a lot of things right, and I don't trust RTSH who are known to be average at best at staging (Suus did well because it couldn't not, really). Hopefully they've rethought the awkward dancing and will use a couple of mime musicians, and a good choir that can carry the oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-OH-oh part.

First run:
Very dark stage, first shot on the hairy guitarist. Eugent in the dark. Lights up in the early keychange to reveal a drummer, two clapping female backing singers, another guitar player and Eugent's face. He's giving it all and sounds great. One of the guitarists seems to get bored and starts walking about behind him at some stage, but nothing else happens really (probably for the best - leave the focus on the singing)

Second run:
Someone needs to tell Eugent that this isn't the live show and performing the hell out of it now won't win you votes. A good applause in the press centre though.

In the mean time, there's a storm outside which blew over the plants by the toilet cabin. Where's SuRie when you need her?


Third run:
About the same, so I'll comment on the outfits. Mostly black/leathery for the entire team, with plenty of silvery dazzles, mostly around Eugent's lapels, and a white undershirt that sticks out behind his bum, looking like a tail (think Iceland 1986). Leather strips on his right arm. There's some kind of image on the back of his jacket, but we only see it for a split second. *peaks over Elin's blog* oh, it's just holes.



Iceland

My pre-opinion: Ari is as cute as a puppy, a great performer and is going to enjoy these rehearsals, knowing that the odds are against him. As for the song's chances, well, I never say never, but they're going to have to pull off an unprecedented spectacle to have a chance.

First run:
Starts very similar to the NF, with the audience behind him. He wears a white suit with red lines on his shoulders that look like some kind of metro map - my guess he won't wear that for the show. Choir of five standing in the dark behind him, smoke on the floor.

Second run:
Not much to say about this, it's all as expected really. Stage starts in blue and during the high note bit changes to red/yellow, at least that's something.

This is (roughly) what he's wearing:

Third run:
OMG! Pyro! AMAZING! ├×├│runn Erna turns into a holographic fire puffin!
Or not really. Nothing to say about this one, it's as expected.


Azerbaijan

My pre-opinion: It's a decent Pop song and Aisel was surely trained to make the best of it, but will it be remembered by the time (the similar-ish) Cyprus has performed? They'll need a standout element, although going by Azerbaijan's historic semifinal televoting patterns, they have little to worry about anyway.

First run:
Blue stage, hurrah! Aisel in flappy white dress, four (visible) backing singers also in white, all on some triangular plinths with neon edges. Sounds fine, but it may be the studio version that we hear.

Second run:
Aisel starts lying down in a darkish stage, then sits up. Wind machine and transparent top leave very little for imagination. Stage manages to look quite sparkly for not having LEDs, There's also sparkle effects added on screen. Overall a professional, though not very interesting routine.

Third run:
Aisel does everything to point our attention to her mid-section (so much that the press area started calling it Crotch my Heart), it all looks a bit over-rehearsed and mechanic, but they have plenty of time to polish it and make it look natural I'm sure.

Greet

Good morning from a rather crowded press centre with very few seats available for community media with actual view of the screens. It's going to be a carnage, but we're being civilised so far.

At least the goodie bag is nice.


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